Slovak films belong even to London • Art Film Fest
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Slovak films belong even to London

After hearing about the Art Film Festival in Trencianske Teplice for so many years, it is great to finally visit and to coincide with such beautiful weather.  It is good to see a section devoted to new British cinema.  So often countries are the last to recognise their own cinematic achievements  Britain no less than others.

I was also pleased to see that the first Slovak film that I ever saw Juraj Herz s Sladke hry minuleho leto 1969] one of the few Slovak films to be released in Britain in the 1970s is honoured here for Dodo Simoncics camerawork a cinematographer who despite his comments in yesterdays festival daily is well known to some of us.

I later came to Slovakia in the early 1970s where I saw Stefan Uher s remarkable Slnko v sieti for the first time.  Someone recommended that I should also see Jakubisko s Cekaji na Godota but somehow the print disappeared overnight.

Although Slovak cinema is not well known in Britain film distributors tend to be over dependent on the latest Cannes awards, the British Film Institute has honoured Juraj Jakubisko with a retrospective and Slovak films are making increasing inroads into film festivals.

Surprisingly, it is documentaries that have led the way and the work of both Juraj Lehotsky and Marko Skop has been featured at the London Film Festival.  Last year reached a climax and two Slovak films were represented  with Martin Sulik s Cigan and Zuzana Liova s Dom.

Could we be looking at a new Slovak wave? Maybe, if the finance were there.

Peter Hames
AFF Main Jury, British Film Critic